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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Councillor hits out at wind turbine applicants ‘threatening to appeal’

AN angry Copeland councillor has questioned the tactics of wind turbine agents who “threaten” to appeal if their application is turned down.

By Sarah Robinson

Coun Jackie Bowman has complained that more applicants are seeking approval for taller turbines as replacements for smaller ones which have already been granted planning permission.

She raised concerns at Copeland’s planning meeting last week after councillors were asked to consider proposals for a 45m turbine on land at Bailey Ground Farm in Seascale.

They were told that if the proposal was approved, it would replace the permission for a turbine with smaller blades. But, if it was refused, the applicant’s agent, Earthmill, would appeal against the council’s decision.

Coun Bowman said: “I’m getting fed up with applications coming in with threats. I hate being threatened with appeal. When they had permission for a smaller turbine, why come forward and apply for a bigger one? Enough is enough.”

Councillors agreed with the council officer’s recommendation to refuse, concluding that “the turbine, due to its scale and elevated location in this highly valued landscape would constitute a prominent and incongruous features which would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the landscape to an unacceptable degree”.

A letter from the agent stated the new proposal for the bigger three-bladed turbine, which would generate power for the farm, would be “more aesthetically pleasing” than the two-bladed turbine already approved. They added permission was granted last year for a similar 45.5m turbine to be erected at Drigg Moorside, 1km from this proposed site.

There was 12 letters of objection, citing detrimental visual impact and the effect on wildlife as concerns. Safety concerns about the potential loss of blades with frequent storm winds, were also given, following a recent incident at Seascale School when one of the blades flew off a turbine.

Seascale Parish Council objected to the proposals, stating there had been no public consultation and there were no community benefits.

Copeland planners also refused the erection of a 57m three-bladed wind turbine at land near Yeorton Hall Farm, at Haile.

They were told that if the proposal went ahead, it would replace a 45.5m turbine which had previously been granted permission.

Coun Stephen Haraldsen echoed Coun Bowman’s concerns about more applications being submitted to increase the height of turbines.

The applicant’s agent, in support of this higher turbine, said the permitted turbine is inefficient and would not be suitable from a technical point of view due to the weak grid structure in this part of Cumbria.

Two letters of objection were received. Haile and Wilton Parish Council strongly objected.

Have your say

I am heartened to hear that the planning committee cannot be conned by crafty tactics. So many wind turbine companies have appeared and cold called landowners in an attempt to get rich quick. The local communities then have to live with the turbines and all they represent. Hang on to your hats, two 110m turbines are being proposed at Church House Farm, Ponsonby - easily visible from the A 595!

Posted by concerned of cumbria on 13 March 2014 at 17:25

If these turbine merchants now find that the turbines which were approved are inefficient, why did they propose them in the first place? It doesn't reflect well on their professional competence. Or are they trying something more devious? Get approval for a turbine 'only' 45m high to get round possible objections from the LDNPA, then blithely assume that Copeland will accept just a little increase? Full marks to Coun. Bowman if the Planning Panel is getting wise to these sneaky tactics at last.

Full marks likewise to Clifford Jones for raising a matter that seems to have been neglected so far.

Posted by Mike Harrington on 11 March 2014 at 13:40

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